A bill in the Colorado legislature presented as an election security measure has been criticized for possibly doing the opposite. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who is the chair of a Soros-funded organization and has received money from George Soros’s son, has come out in favor of the bill.
SB22-153, sponsored by Democrat Senate President Stephen Fenberg, Republican state Sen. Kevin Priola, and Democrat state Rep. Susan Lontine, is under consideration in the state House after passing with a 21-13 vote in Colorado’s Senate. The bill was also co-sponsored by 19 other Colorado state senators, all of whom are Democrats.
The bill, titled the “Colorado Election Security Act,” would require 24-hour surveillance of electronic voting machines and mandate that all election officials undergo a “curriculum for certification” including courses regarding “professional development” and “election security, combating misinformation and disinformation related to the administration of elections.”
In a statement to The Federalist, Lauren Bowman — a spokeswoman for the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity — voiced support for the electronic tabulation of votes but warned of the dangers of laws targeting misinformation.
“This Colorado bill calls for electronic tabulation. This will be a great improvement for Colorado’s elections. Since Colorado is almost exclusively a vote by mail state, you don’t want humans doing paper counting unless the machine malfunctions. This is exactly what the bill calls for,” Bowman told The Federalist. “Unfortunately, this bill includes a provision that says election officials must be trained in combating misinformation about election administration. This is a dangerous line when we empower the government to determine what is misinformation.”
Additionally, SB22-153 would prevent counties or individuals from creating or disclosing an image of a voting machine’s hard drive unless they have obtained the “express written permission of the Department of State.” It would also allow Colorado’s secretary of state to permit the manual counting of ballots if software or hardware malfunctions render electronic vote tabulation impossible.
The legislation originally included a provision that sought to prohibit the spreading of “misinformation or disinformation related to the administration of elections” by elected officials. This provision has since been dropped from the bill.
A press release from the Colorado Department of State refers to the proposal as “the cornerstone of Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s election security priorities for the 2022 legislative session,” but Griswold’s financial backers have extreme left-wing agendas and a history of dumping money into state and local races to overhaul norms for progressive causes.
Griswold previously received a campaign donation from Jennifer Allan Soros, the wife of one of George Soros’s sons. Griswold is also the chair of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State. DASS received a $1 million donation from Democracy PAC, which has received $125 million from leftist billionaire George Soros and is led by his son, Alexander Soros.
Republican state Sen. Paul Lundeen of Colorado’s 9th District opposes the controversial bill, calling it “egregious” and saying it “increases infringement on our 1st Amendment rights and prevents confidence in our voting system.” In a video posted to his YouTube channel, Lundeen condemned SB22-153, arguing it “still consolidates way too much power into the secretary of state,” whom he referred to as “highly partisan.”
Republican candidate for El Paso County clerk Peter Lupia has also criticized the bill, pointing out that Section 10 of the bill would require all counties in the state of Colorado with a population exceeding 1,000 people to use electronic voting machines.
Lupia, who has advocated for a return to hand-counting ballots, also pointed to Sections 6 and 7 of the bill, claiming that it would give the secretary of state “veto power over the voters’ selection of chief election official for the county.”
Lupia told The Federalist that SB22-153 is an “outright assault against local governments,” citing mandates that “local Clerks & Recorders and their election staff to take training from, and be credentialed by, the Secretary of State’s office.”
He specifically decried the actions of the Secretary of State, who he said is working alongside “partisan leadership of the CO State Senate and State House” to “weaponize her office and centralize control over all CO elections at the state level.”
Secretary of State Griswold, Senator Fenberg, and Senator Lundeen did not respond to requests for comment.